Leadership Spotlight: Q&A with Roy Eastham

Roy EasthamRoy Eastham is Vice President of Engineering & Projects for Hi-Pad Brake Technology. Hi-Pad is based in Yantai, China, and manufactures Automotive and Commercial Vehicle disc brake pads for the Original Equipment and Aftermarket segments. In the following Q&A, Roy shares with us his valuable insights on the topics of leadership and success.

TBR: What is your current role and area of responsibility?

RE: After 40 years of working in large well know friction companies (Honeywell & Federal Mogul) I wanted to devote my time, energy & experience on the growth & development of a relatively new friction company in China. My specific role covers all aspects of business growth/project strategies in the OE and Aftermarket . The primary objective being to mentor and coach the China based Hi-Pad team on customer & product expectations needed to support a very competitive market place.

TBR: How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?

RE: My Natural Leadership style has been to “Lead By Example” driving the company’s business strategic plans. Inside your leadership role you must also balance the company’s changing dynamics that potentially impacts your team and organization…ie Growth, Restructuring plans etc.

TBR: What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?

RE: Hi-Pad is not a well-known company/supplier for the OE business in the USA. However, we are making good progress in the China OE domestic market. Our current focus is on the USA aftermarket. The challenge here is how to promote a strong “Value Proposition” for a commodity market that considers all Emerging Regions Suppliers to be low cost!!

TBR: What do you look for when evaluating top talent?

RE: Individuals who command a professional and motivated personality. Recruiting and retaining good people can be a bigger challenge! Our Automotive industry can (and does) encourage talented individuals to move every 2-3 years. Retention of talented people must be a development priority between the company, manager and the individual, providing internal opportunities for these “Fast Track employees”.

TBR: What was your first job in Industry?

RE: Engineering Apprentice at Ferodo Ltd UK (and now Federal Mogul). The Engineering apprentice was a 4-5 year Industry/Production grounding before I transferred into a Design and Application engineering role.

TBR: What is the best career advice you have been given?

RE: Originally, my parents advice was to focus on “Education and getting a Trade”. However my career was strongly influenced by one of the Ferodo UK senior leaders (my mentor) who created the opportunity for me to move to the USA. “Strive to be the customer advocate”, build trust and respect, focus on results and execution and remember who pays your salary!!

TBR: What is your favorite quote and why?

RE: Nike Quote: Just do it

TBR: How do you see the industry evolving over the next 5-10 years and do you have any bold predictions for us?

RE: The industry VM/OE customers & the Environmentalists will continue to drive the friction material down a strong technical and toxicology path. NO, compromise on the primary targets for NVH/Dust…but additional focus on product features that offer any potential weight/brake drag reduction.

Corrosion risks (Pad & Rotor) will need additional consideration as the new generation of electronic vehicles will enhance the durability/lifetime of the friction products.

The Independent Aftermarket will need to follow the OE strategies, but will focus on specific Value Engineering opportunities to help reduce the potential cost drivers.

TBR: Tell us a something that most people might not know about you or your organization.

RE: The Hi-Pad Global Leadership team has > 120 years of friction material experience and this is helping build customer confidence, despite the relatively young company image.

As for me, when I was 40 and before I moved to the USA, I was asked to move my family to Germany. I declined that move and subsequently moved to the USA…I often wonder, what IF…

I enjoy most sports (golf in particular) but spending time with Lorraine, family members and the grandchildren is most rewarding.  

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